Following up once again on our reports regarding the housing market and current important trends in our economy, we wrap up our recent interview with Scott Manint, a real estate professional who works out of Rolling Meadows in the Northwest Suburban area.
Tom: Hi, Scott. Thanks so much once again for taking time from your busy schedule to help our readers get a better grasp on the current housing market, how it impacts them, and what they can do if they have a house or mortgage issue.
Scott: Thanks, Tom. Helping folks is why I am in this business! I appreciate the opportunity to offer helpful information for your readers.
T: A lot of folks who are “under water” or “upside down” are embarrassed, frustrated, angry, scared. What advice do you have which might help them put those feelings aside and become proactive in trying to find a workable re-financing option, instead of waiting, delaying, “hoping it goes away”, etc… which is only likely to lead to them feeling more “victimized” when the mortgage is due?
S: President Obama has promised executive action to help more homeowners to refinance. He offered no specific details during his Sept. 8th speech before Congress — possibly signaling that his new legislative initiative may not include a housing component — but he did say that refinancing at rates currently near 4 percent would put more than $2,000 a year into a family’s hands and boost the economy. He also said he wants to create a national infrastructure bank, an idea that has not been well-received by banks.
I have had a few clients rent out the home on which they are underwater and downsize to another home, since home prices are so much lower than they were two years ago.
T: Are there federal or local programs, plans, incentives, etc. which might be helpful to those who are struggling with their mortgage and finding a workable re-finance solution?
S: There is a program for homeowners who originally put 20% down and they can now go to 105% LTV. They will not be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) (their loan will have to be a Fannie Mae loan). Other than that, if people are really in trouble, I would have them contact their current lender request a loan modification in order to lower their payments.
T: Are there any questions I SHOULD have asked but didn’t that you think would be helpful to folks who either need to refinance or are contemplating refinancing?
S: Refinancing a loan still depends a lot on how one’s credit is. I would not advise people to go to any of the free credit report websites for a credit review. Every time I talk to someone who has gone onto one of those websites, it seems that their credit scores end up being worse. One of the very first things I do after talking over a homeowners situation is to look at their credit to checkl their status. I also offer helpful credit reports for free. In addition, the rental business is very strong right now and I pull a lot of credit reports for realtors on behalf of people who can’t buy a home and are looking to rent.
T: Anything else we should know, Scott?
S: Actually, there is. A recent report shows that putting together the required level of down payment for a home purchase remains the biggest hurdle for folks who want to buy a home (according to Trulla’s biannual “American Dream” survey). In the survey, over 50% cited “down payment” as the major barrier. Other top “barriers” include: qualifying for a mortgage, overcoming a poor credit history, inability to pay off existing debt, and not having a stable job.
T: Thanks so much, Scott. This has been extremely helpful. I appreciate your time! If folks want to contact you, which means of contacting you is best for you?
S: Thank you for inviting me to share, Tom. I’m always willing to provide professional service to folks with real estate issues. They can reach me through phone or email: